Commencement 2024: Watch the Video, See our Photo Gallery

On what was a breezy and sunny Saturday morning, Stetson University held its 138th annual Commencement ceremony, where members of  the Class of 2024 from the College of Arts and Sciences received their undergraduate — and graduate — degrees on May 11 in DeLand.

On May 10, Commencement ceremonies were held for the School of Music and the School of Business Administration.

Spring Commencement 2024
Christopher F. Roellke, PhD

“I hope the world looks different to you now, because you have seen both its beauty and its complexity,” said President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD. “I hope you have grown and achieved things you never thought possible. I hope you keep pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone and keep learning and growing. I promise you, your beloved university will do the same, as we continue to strive to be the very best we can be as we move Stetson forward together from Florida Gem to National Treasure.”

With filled stands and constant cheers, the Spec Martin Memorial Stadium emanated joy, excitement and nostalgia as hundreds of graduates saw their Stetson journeys come to a bittersweet but exciting end.

Alexis Trapp ’23

“We gather here to celebrate the culmination of years of resilience,” said Alexis Trapp ’23, who graduated with a major in Social Science and will attend law school. “Throughout the years spent together, I hope the you that is sitting here today is not the same you that initially came to Stetson. … I don’t think many of us grew up thinking we’d fall in love with a little town called DeLand, and yet, it’s stolen the hearts of so many. For me, Stetson is my home, and home is where the hat is.”

Each Journey, Unique and Special

Morgan Saylor, Digital Arts with Minors in Entrepreneurship and Management

Morgan Saylor
Morgan Saylor ’24

For recent graduate Morgan Saylor, 26, graduating meant closing a chapter of her life she didn’t think she’d be able to close.

“I started Stetson after I graduated high school in 2016,” she said. “I did two years, and then I decided I wanted to serve our country. So, I joined the U.S. Navy for four years, and I just came back to Stetson last spring in 2023 because I decided to finish my degree. It’s not something I thought I’d be able to finish, so I feel very accomplished.”

Saylor, who was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina, and her husband, Ethan Saylor — who also is a U.S. Navy veteran — are expecting their first daughter in August. She plans to take time off with her daughter and eventually would like to pursue a master’s degree.

“I am very excited,” she said. “I am looking forward to meeting my baby girl. I am ready to close this chapter of schooling and start a new one raising my child with my husband.”

Alongside Morgan Saylor, there was Kona, her service dog, who walked by her side and was happy to celebrate his human’s success.

Anthony Mundle, Communication and Media Studies

Anthony Mundle ’24

Graduating was a milestone for Anthony Mundle, 22, who became the first college graduate in his family.

“I feel very accomplished,” he said. “I hope my family is proud. I am doing this for them. It is very honoring to be the first one, but hopefully not the last one.”

Mundle, originally from Fort Lauderdale, learned many things while at Stetson, some academics and some that will help him succeed in every aspect of life.

“Stetson helped me navigate my career in a way that was best for me and would help me excel as a professional,” he said. “I also learned to make every moment count. Time goes fast, so make sure you remember every moment and cherish them and keep them with you for as long as you can.”

Elodie Foster, Psychology and Health Sciences

Elodie Foster
Elodie Foster ’23

For Elodie Foster — a native of Brisbane, Australia — Stetson became her home away from home soon after her arrival.

“Everyone is so nice and friendly here, so it really made the transition that much easier,” she said.

Foster, 22, started her college journey in the United States at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma but quickly shifted gears and, after her first semester, decided to attend Stetson. She currently works as a clinical research coordinator at Indiana University, as she graduated after fall 2023.

“Stetson made it really easy to transition into work,” she said. “ I felt very prepared leaving here with faculty help and all the experiences they give you.”

A student-athlete, Foster was part of the women’s tennis team during her years at Stetson and believes that experience provided her skills that helped her succeed.

“Being a student-athlete is a ride,” she said. “It has its ups and downs, but I think it helps a lot with time management because you have to be on top of stuff all the time, so I feel that’s helped me a lot in entering a job.”

Sammie Jones III, Master’s in Educational Leadership

Sammie Jones III
Sammie Jones III ’24

For Sammie Jones III, 38, getting his master’s degree offers the culmination of years of work in the education field and the opportunity to continue his professional growth.

“I’m a teacher,” he said. “This degree means almost everything because I already graduated one time, but it was so long ago.”

Jones III earned his bachelor’s degree in Family, Youth and Community Sciences from the University of Florida in 2013 and currently serves the youth population of Manatee County. He hopes to continue serving in the education field for years to come.

“Today is a culmination of my experience of years working,” he said. “It’s something that can get me to my next step of my career, becoming a principal.”

Roellke’s Final Charge

During his final charge, Roellke asked one thing of the graduates — one thing he knows they will be successful at — as they walk out of Stetson with three values that, by now, are deeply ingrained in every one of them: kindness, empathy and collaboration.

“As you leave Stetson University, go forth and make us proud, make your families proud, make your communities proud,” he said. “Indeed, I am confident that you will do just that.”

This year, between the three Commencement ceremonies — School of Business Administration and School of Music, College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Law in Gulfport, Stetson will honor more than 1,000 graduates.

After years of hard work, members of the graduating Class of 2024 received their college degrees, and the excitement was palpable.

The College of Law’s Commencement ceremony is set for 8:30 a.m. on May 18 in the Plaza Mayor Courtyard, 1401 61st Street South in Gulfport near St. Petersburg.

– Andrea Mujica